Gut friendly foods from around the world
Did you know that South Korea has the highest consumption of vegetables per capita? 1 In a 2015 survey, almost 100% of the respondents (aged 15+) reported that they consumed vegetables every day.1 So what’s their secret? Let’s find out as we look at some flavourful and gut-friendly Korean foods.
Kimchi is one of the most popular gut-friendly Korean foods – it is a fermented food that has been consumed for hundreds of years. Easy to make it is a side dish that can be made with a variety of vegetables such as cabbages, radishes, cucumbers, or mustard leaves and often contains garlic and spring onions. Some of these vegetables are an excellent source of prebiotic fibre and contain essential micronutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron and folate.2 However, because Kimchi is known to be high in salt it’s best to consume in moderate amounts or opt for low salt varieties. As many commercially available fermented products tend to be pasteurised, it’s worth trying to get a hold of unpasteurised Kimchi that contains live bacteria.
Namul is a broad term used to refer to any seasoned vegetable side dish (cooked or raw). These form an integral part of a Korean meal and are often served as an accompaniment to rice, soup and other side dishes.3 A large variety of vegetables, including edible leaves, ferns, stems as well as sprouts, mushrooms and seaweeds can be used to prepare this dish. Safe to say, there’s something for everyone. Since a selection of different types of namul are consumed with a meal, it provides plenty of dietary fibre and nutrients, including phytonutrients (chemical compounds found in plant foods such as carotenoids and flavonoids), which can help maintain a healthy and diverse gut microbiota.
Interested in trying out a quick and easy gut-friendly Korean dish?
Why don’t you try this recipe for a quick beansprout side dish aka kongnamul muchim (it’s vegan and gluten-free too!)
200g mung bean sprouts
½ tsp soy sauce
Salt to taste
1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
Half a finely chopped spring onion
½ tsp roasted sesame seeds
Optional – add red pepper flakes/ chilli powder for some heat
- Mix the soy sauce, minced garlic, chopped spring onion, sesame oil (and chilli, if using) in a bowl.
- Blanch the mung bean sprouts in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until tender (but still crisp).
- Add the blanched sprouts to the seasoning and mix to combine.
- Top with toasted sesame seeds and enjoy with rice and other side dishes.
Love Your Gut recipes
You can see all our tasty Love Your Gut Recipes here so take a look if you would like to try cooking more gut friendly meals!!
- OECD (2015) Health at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators. [Online]. Paris: OECD Publishing. [Accessed 20 July 2021]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1787/health_glance-2015-18-en
- Park KY et al. (2014) Health benefits of kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) as a probiotic food. Journal of Medicinal Food. 17(1):6-20.
- Kim SH et al. (2020) Namul, the driving force behind health and high vegetable consumption in Korea. Journal of Ethnic Foods. 7(15):1-12.